Selasa, 07 September 2010

Pre-run Streching Doesn't Prevent Injuries

I reported last year on this blog that the U.S.A. Track & Field association (USATF) was recruiting runners for a study to try to determine whether pre-run stretching prevents running injuries. Coaches and trainers often recommend stretching before exercise, but whether it’s helpful, harmful, or neutral has remained essentially an untested hypothesis.

To test the hypothesis that pre-run stretching reduces the incidence of injuries to runners, the USATF recruited 2,729 runners, defined as persons who ran over 10 miles a week. Each runner was randomly assigned to either a “stretch” or a “no-stretch” group. “No-stretch” runners were instructed not to stretch before running even if they had been in the habit of doing so before. “Stretch” runners were instructed to follow a specific stretch routine before running. All runners were instructed to continue their normal running routine for three months and to report any injuries that caused them to stop running for at least three days.

The results of the study were released last month. Just over half of the runners complied with their assigned group protocol and successfully completed the three months of the study. The results - injury rates were precisely 16% in both groups. In other words, pre-run stretching had no effect on injury rates.

One intriguing finding was that runners who normally stretched before running but were assigned to the “no-stretch” group had a higher injury rate than those who normally didn’t stretch and were in the same group. One hypothesis is that just changing their routine (stopping stretching) may have been enough to predispose them to injury.

So if you’ve always stretched before you run and like doing it, by all means keep doing it. But if you haven’t been in the habit of stretching before running, don’t feel that you have to start.

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